The French Agency for Veterinary Medicinal Products (ANMV), part of ANSES, is responsible for monitoring the market of products for veterinary use. Following an alert suggesting that the Wish e-commerce platform may have been selling falsified antiparasitic collars, the ANMV analysed several of these collars. The products were presented on the site as antiparasitic collars from the Seresto® range produced by Bayer. These collars are authorised in France for the prevention and treatment of fleas and ticks in dogs and cats. They are sold over the counter. Only the very low price of the collars offered on the website cast doubt on their authenticity. The shippers were located in China.
Antiparasitic collars without labels or instructions for use
Upon receipt, the collars did not resemble the visuals featured on the Wish site. Nothing in the packaging identified the product: there was no mention of the name of the collar, the target species, or the indications for use. Thus, there was nothing that could distinguish a cat collar from a dog collar. No visible information enabled the collar to be linked to a batch number, manufacturer, or marketing authorisation holder. Moreover, there was no information regarding precautions for use, risks to the animal and owner, or conditions for the disposal of waste. And yet the regulations governing veterinary medicinal products require that all this information be mentioned on the box or package insert.
Ineffective and possibly hazardous products
Analyses of the collars showed that the active substances that are supposed to be contained in Seresto® collars – flumethrin and imidacloprid – were missing.
The risks associated with the purchasing and use of such falsified medicinal products range from simple inefficacy to potential toxicity to animals, humans and the environment, depending on the substances they contain.
Pay close attention to the origin of veterinary medicinal products
As shown by this situation, it is necessary to be extremely cautious when purchasing veterinary medicinal products on the Internet due to the risk of falsification and counterfeiting. It is preferable to purchase these products from outlets that can guarantee their quality.
In all cases, the owner should verify the medicinal product’s integrity upon receipt. It should be packed in secondary packaging – usually a cardboard box – showing information about the medicinal product, with instructions for use. All of these documents should be in French. If this is not the case, this veterinary medicinal product is not authorised in France and should not be administered to an animal.
New European regulations will enter into force in January 2022. As of that date, websites selling veterinary medicinal products will have to be registered and display a logo guaranteeing compliance with the regulations.